tv Meet the Press NBC February 6, 2011 10:00am-11:00am EST
this sunday, a special edition of "meet the press" from the ronald reagan presidential library in simi valley, california, on what would have been reagan's 100th birthday. it is day 13 of the crisis in egypt. now at a crucial moment, protesters continue the call for president mubarak to step down. demonstrators are still in the streets but there is calm after several days of chaos in cairo. as clashes between president mubarak supporters and anti-government protesters turn violent, mubarak dug in, resisting the revolution at his
doorstep. >> an orderly transition must be meaningful. it must be peaceful. and it must begin now. >> how do you define "now"? that could mean today, not september. >> now means yesterday. >> this morning the view inside egypt with leading opposition figure mohamed elbaradei and the ambassador to the united states sameh shoukry. what happens next and what will it mean for the middle east and u.s. interests there? i will be joined by the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee john kerry. also part of our special coverage insights and perspective from former secretary of state james baker and reporting from the ground. >> they were hunting down reporters. >> with nbc's chief foreign correspondent richard engel. then a special discussion marking the 100th birthday of president ronald reagan. what is his legacy for the modern republican party and what impact does he have on democrats
like president obama? joining us, more from james baker, reagan's chief of staff, former reagan speech writer peggy noonan, former mayor willie brown and andrea peggy noonan, former mayor willie brown and andrea mitchell. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good morning. we go first live to cairo where nbc news chief foreign correspondent richard engel is joining us again live on the scene in cairo. richard, what is the latest there? >> reporter: there appear to have been major breakthroughs after negotiations today between members of the opposition and the vice president of egypt.
according to a government statement that we just received, egypt has made several very significant concessions. one, two end the emergency law that has been in place in this country since 1981 as soon as security on the ground here permits. two, to allow more candidates to run for president, to allow greater freedom of the press , o suspend future meetings of parliament until allegations of corruption and electoral fraud are flushed out, to respect and appreciate the youth movement in the streets, to form a follow up committee to make sure all of the promises of reform are carried out and to form a commission to potentially release political prisoners. these are many of the demands of the opposition have been asking for. most significant, suspending the emergency law. this marshal law has been in place for decades and the law
egypt has used to repress democracy and political opposition. if egypt suspends this as soon as the situation calms down in the streets it would be a major concession. >> richard, what ends the stand-off? will it only be when mubarak decides to step aside that the protests will stop? >> reporter: it depends. right now you are seen an opposition that's divided. hard-core demonstrators in tahrir square say this is not good enough, that mubarak must physically leave the country. with every day this conflict goes on, more opposition members and more people of egypt are saying a lot of reform has been promised. maybe we already have one and now we need to go back to work. i was out on the streets today, spoke to people who were part of the demonstration who are now no longer agreeing with the fact that tahrir square is blocked to traffic, that the government is
no longer in an ability to function, that tourists have been frightened out of the country. they think reform has been promised. they want to make sure it happens but think it is time to move on. they don't mind if president mubarak stays in in a caretaker role for several months until elections in september. >> all right. richard engel on the ground for us in cairo. thank you very much. we turn now to dr. elbaradei, the leader of the opposition to president mubarak as this revolt has unfolded. dr. elbaradei, welcome to the program. i should apologize. we have a satellite delay that is significant. so we'll bear with each other through that. i wonder if you can follow up on what the latest is. the negotiations that you have been part of with the mubarak government. what's going to come of all of this? >> david, thank you for having me. i should start by saying i have not been part of the
negotiation. i have not been invited to take part in the negotiation or dialogue. but i have been following what is going on. i can tell you, david, that there is still a huge lack of confidence between the government and the demonstrators. there is a good deal of fear that the government will retrench and then come back again with a vengeance, if you like. the process is opaque. nobody knows who is talking to whom at this stage. the process is managed by the outgoing regime without the involvement of the new opposition, if you like, or the rest of the people. -- by president suleiman and it is all managed by the military, david, and that's part of the problem. the president and vice president are military men. the prime minister is a military man. i think if you really want to
build confidence you need to engage the rest of the civilians. that's why i suggested that we should have a transitional period where a presidential council of three people including the military should run things and transition the government. >> is your bottom line position, dr. elbaradei, that mubarak must leave now? >> well, i think that's become very emotional, almost an obsession by many people who have demonstrated, the young people. that if this is not a change of personalities, it is a change of regime, if you like. it is a change from one-person system base to a system based on an institution. people see the departure of president mubarak with dignity and he obviously is welcomed by every egyptian to stay in egypt and treated with the with respect he deserves as former president of egypt, but this has
become a litmus test of how serious his regime is about reform. and that remains the same and the demonstrators are saying entrench in tahrir square and other plays until this were to take place. >> but dr. elbaradei, i'm asking your view. must he leave power? must he leave egypt? >> no. he doesn't have to. of course he doesn't have to leave egypt at all. he's an egyptian. he has the right to live in egypt. but he has to cease power. i think interviews of demonstrators, they have the regime which represents lost legitimacy and i feel he needs to have political responsibility and step aside and get the country to move on and cede power to a council, a tecaretak
government and move to a government with free and fair elections, including the right to establish parties. that is key for people to establish parties and to take the time to go and engage. and then you will have among other guarantees free and fair elections, suspend the current institution, suspend the parliament and have a professional constitution. we cannot go through democracy through the current situation which is a dictatorial one. >> let me ask you about the united states' influence at this point. you have been critical of the obama administration for not having a consistent message. what influence is the administration having an events there? >> well, i think the u.s., of course, has close ties to the u.s., but they are not going to determine the events in the streets of egypt. but i think, you know, everybody expects them to stand up for the
basic universal values, freedom, democracy, rule of law, human rights and the u.s. at the beginning has been behind the curve. i think they caught up in the last few days, but the special representative made the statement yesterday saying president mubarak must stay in power. that came down here like a piece of lead. then it was denied by the white house. you know, it was retracted by the white house. i think what people expect is not that the u.s. will effect change in u.s. but they have to be very clear that they are on the side of the people for freedom and democracy, for egypt to move to what i call the second republic, a move from an authoritarian system into democracy. >> let me show you "the week" from the united states. the headline is egypt after
mubarak and it says, should the west fear democracy in the mideast. should we? >> i don't think egypt is any different from any other country. i think the gateway to stability, the gateway to economic and social justice, the gateway to egypt that is catching up with the rest of the world and with it the arab world, the road to stable peace in the region is, in my view at least, starts and ends with a democratic egypt where people are empowered. i think the idea that we are not ready here is almost an insult. look at india, david. india has all the problems egypt has, poverty, illiteracy and they are an example of a democratic system. >> final question, dr. elbaradei. do you want to lead egypt or will you be a transitional
figure of leadership? >> i want, david, to be an agent for change. i made that very clear. i would like to monitor as much as i can and lend my weight as much as i can to see egypt, you know, going back from where we are to where we should be. if i can do that in a peaceful, orderly way with every other egyptian, i will be absolutely happy and will have fulfilled the mission of my life, to see my country where everybody has the right to live in peace, freedom and dignity. >> and, yes or no, should egypt in the future always maintain the peace treaty with israel? >> i think so. but it is not just dependent on egypt. it's dependent on israel. they should not continue to apply a policy of force. the palestinians should agree to what everybody knows that the palestinians have the right to establish a state similar to
what the proposal -- >> dr. elbaradei, i think a lot of people hearing this will hear equivocation and there will be great fear about a potential leader of egypt saying that the peace treaty is not rock solid with israel. >> well, i think everybody saying it is rock solid, but everybody also saying that at the same breath that whether egypt is a democracy, egypt is a dictatorship, everybody in egypt, everybody in the arab world will want to see an independent palestinian state, david. i don't think anybody disagrees with that. that has nothing to do with the peace treaty between egypt and israel which has been concluded. i assume egypt will continue to respect it. >> all right. dr. elbaradei, thank you very much for joining us. i am joined now by egypt's ambassador to the united states sameh shoukry. ambassador, welcome.
>> thank you for having me. >> does your government now accept that this is a revolution in your country that cannot be stopped? >> there is certainly a very important moment in egypt's history. it is a moment of change, one that we are all looking towards with optimism and the egyptian people will continue on the road to greater democracy, greater social and economic reform. >> my question was very clear. do you accept that this is a revolution that cannot be stopped, that things as they were are over? >> certainly, things as they were are over from the 25th of october, everybody agrees that egypt in the future will look significantly different than egypt of the past. this is a major moment in our history. we intend to make full use of it. >> will president mubarak step down before september?
>> this is a decision for the president to make. the political process is one of reconciliation, one of consultation to reach national consensus on the way forward. >> under what circumstances would he go? >> currently, he would leave office when his term ends. >> you're well aware that the obama administration says the transition must take place now, that the opposition wants him to leave now and not hang on until september. are you saying he will not heed those requests? >> that is a decision the president will take. as far as the administration, i refer you to the statements of president obama last friday where he indicated very clearly that this was an issue to be resolved by the egyptian people. he mentioned that several times. he also made reference to the
fact that the president's term is shortly to be over and by now, i believe that the transition is under way. the vice president has undertaken very important consultations with the broad spectrum and segments of the opposition and council of wisemen and has -- i believe has declared today a variety of very important, very meaningful steps that built confidence and that accepts the road for the future. >> ambassador, it is widely believed that the mubarak regime was responsible for unleashing goon squads this week in the streets to attack protesters and journalists alike. at this point, do you concede that the effort backfired, that it did not stop the movement against mubarak? >> the government has denied its involvement in acts of violence and promised the full and wide
investigation that will be transparent and that will define those who are responsible. the situation in cairo during the demonstrations was one of chaos, a vacuum of security and certainly all forms of violence against reporters, journalists or demonstrators was widely condemned and, again, i would say that the government condemns all forms of violence. >> this is not a government that's known for transparency, with all respect, ambassador. do you expect people to believe this was a sudden outburst of violence against protesters and journalists alike? >> i think whatever the case, we must resort to a full investigative process. those who have made assumptions have not provided any definite evidence to indicate one thing or another. the government has promised the level of the vice president, the
prime minister that they would undertake a full and transparent investigation. >> your leader, president mubarak, has often said if he were to leave power the replacement would be worse, what comes next would be worse. should americans be afraid of this transition in egypt? is it possible without mubarak that an islamist state could rise up, the role of the muslim brotherhood could endanger the peace treaty with israel and there could be wider chaos throughout the middle east? >> i believe the manner in which the transition, consultations are being applied will guarantee that egypt proceeds within constitutional legitimacy, reliance on institutions and when we do have presidential elections and the formation of the new government, i believe that egypt will be stable and will be able to deal with
internal and regional developments in the same manner it has done in the past. >> we thank you for your time this morning. >> thank you very much. >> for more on what this means for u.s. policy in egypt and in the middle east i'm joined from new york by the chair man of the senate foreign relations committee, democrat john kerry. senator kerry, you have heard quite a lot this morning. give me your reaction to where things stand. >> i was encouraged by what i heard this morning. i thought mr. elbaradei actually moved. i think what we have heard from egypt about the meetings that vice president suleiman is, frankly, quite extraordinary. if you tally up what's happened in the last 12 days, president mubarak announced that he is not running. his son is not running. he has put a vice president in place. he has engaged in a dialogue with the protesters. he's now promising to remove the emergency law which is a major
opening of the door to the democratic process, allowing people to organize, speak, meet at a cafe. i think that's a beginning. the most important thing now is to guarantee the process is in place where there are free and fair elections. parties can organize. people can campaign and, number two, that president mubarak, i think once again perhaps addressed the nation to make it clear what the timetable is. precisely what the process is. i think if that happens, this could actually turn significantly to the good and to the promise of a better outcome. >> as you know the administration has been very careful in what it has said and when it said it. frank wisner was dispatched to egypt to send a message to mubarak that it was time to step down and not run for re-election. he spoke over the weekend
suggesting that mubarak should not go right way away. >> the president must stay in office in order to steer those changes through. i therefore believe that president mubarak's continued leadership is critical. it's his opportunity to write his own legacy. >> you can imagine why that raised eyebrows just days after the president said transition must begin now. secretary of state clinton has said we respect mr. wisner. he's not speaking for the administration. what is the u.s. position about what mubarak should do now? >> the u.s. position is crystal clear. beginning with the fact that ambassador wisner, a distingu h distinguished diplomat was speaking for himself about the constitutional process. the fact is that egypt has a lot of options with respect to the constitutional process. i spoke with general suleiman
yesterday. i spoke with amir mousser today. there is an enormous diplomatic effort in place. i credit the administration with a remarkable outreach effort. on super bowl day maybe it's not inappropriate to use the term, the flooding of the zone that's taking place with the germans, with the french, with the british, with many other players, the turks. there are a huge number of people trying to move this in the right direction now. i think mr. wisner's comments don't reflect where the administration has been from day one. that was not the message that he was asked to deliver or did deliver there. now, that said, the president has been clear. the secretary of state had been clear that the president wants change. he wants it immediately. he wants it to be meaningful and orderly. those are the terms that the president set out. the secretary of state said -- >> quickly, senator kerry, you
said mubarak should go. could you see him staying on for a period of time in an interim period of time that would be stabilizing? would you support that? >> david, what i said in the op-ed i wrote last tuesday was clear and carefully chosen. it said he must step aside gracefully and begin the process of transition to a caretaker type of government. i believe that is happening right now. that is previously what's going on with vice president suleiman, not president mubarak. vice president suleiman engaged in discussions with the opposition. what i think is needed now is clarity about this process. i think that's missing. if president mubarak -- >> he could be a figurehead? he could still be president in name only? >> well, first of all, let's be crystal clear. it's not up to us. it's up to the egyptian people to decide what is going to happen here. that negotiation is taking place right now. we ought to be elated that they
are, in fact, sitting down, that the army has restrained itself, that some semblance of order, even as there are protests, is being restored to the streets. i think that can be enhanced significantly if president mubarak were to state even more clearly what the process of transition will be to this sort of -- you could call it a consensus government. you could call it a caretaker. what is important is that the egyptian people understand that their demands are being met, that there will be an election, that it will be open, fair, free and accountable. and that they will have an opportunity to go to the polls and choose their future. that's the most important thing. one final thing, david. we have learned from gaza and we have learned from lebanon and we have learned from other experiences that just doing something, quote, having an election, doesn't bring a democracy. you have to have an orderly
process in place that guarantees the rights and the security of the people and that moves forward in a confident way. we want to do this right. >> senator -- >> that's as important as doing it. >> senator, i don't have a lot of time left. i want to get to a point a lot of americans are asking about. admiral mike mullen, the president's top military adviser appeared on "the daily show" with jon stewart. this is what he said. >> i think actually it's taken not just us but many people by surprise. >> how is that possible, senator? after 9/11 with our intelligence focused on the region that the administration could be surprised by what has turned out to be a revolution sweeping the middle east? >> i will tell you easily. i don't think there is a mystery in it, david. there is no surprise that there was pent-up demand. no surprise that we needed to have reform. the fact is a year ago i gave a
speech in which i laid out much of what needed to be done in the region. secretary of state clinton, only three weeks ago, made a very dramatic, tough statement in which she said, unless there is reform, unless arab leaders move to deal with the problems this is an area that's sinking into the sand. it was a very dramatic statement. what happened in tunisia is what triggered this. what happened on facebook and twitter is what drove it. frankly, the muslim brotherhood was taken by surprise. everybody in egypt suddenly saw this moment erupt as a consequence of this pent-up demand over what happened in tunisia. so the fact of the need for reform, the pent-up demand, the anguish, humiliation, anger, frustration, those are things we knew were there and we knew could explode. but the moment and manner in which it exploded is a
reflection of what's happened with respect to the new media and what happened in tunisia and i don't think anybody in egypt even knew it would happen when id deposit. >> all right. senator kerry, we'll leave it there. thank you very much. up next, we'll be back live from the reagan library with our special panel and more insights and analysis on the situation in egypt. what does it mean for the future of u.s. foreign policy in the middle east? plus, on this 100th birthday of president ronald reagan, what does his legacy mean today? our guests, former reagan chief of staff james baker, former reagan speech writer, peggy noonan. former san francisco mayor willie brown and correspondent for nbc news during the reagan administration, andrea mitchell. we know why we're here. to build a new generation of airplanes to connect the world. ♪ airplanes that fly cleaner and farther on less fuel.
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logistics was our black heart. the thought that any business... any upstart could access the power of logistics... that's... unthinkable. coming up, what does the reagan legacy mean today? former secretary of state james baker and reagan speech writer peggy noonan join our roundtable from the reagan presidential library. that's next after this brief commercial break.
[ male announcer ] before he changed the world... tear down this wall. [ male announcer ] ...or led a nation... i ronald reagan do solemnly swear. [ male announcer ] ...or governed a state... you and i have a rendezvous with destiny. [ male announcer ] ...he inspired our company... with his optimism, his belief in innovation, and his entrepreneurial spirit. [ man ] for general electric, here is ronald reagan. ♪ sadly, no. oh. but i did pick up your dry cleaning and had your shoes shined. well, i made you a reservation at the sushi place around the corner. well, in that case,
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state assembly and former speaker willie brown. he was there when reagan was governor. and the correspondent for nbc during the reagan years, our new chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell. what a gorgeous setting as i look on the california sunrise in simi valley. there is air force one from the reagan era. we are using a table that is so historic. this was, indeed, the table from the situation room of the white house during the reagan era. lest anyone think i would put my mess on the table there is a thick piece of plastic that protects the original. here is the table as it was used during the reagan administration during those years. you can see the president and officials looking at a map there around it. so this is very significant. i want to, secretary of state baker, bring you into this egypt discussion and ask what you have heard. we went back and if it wasn't your very first it was one of
your first appearances on "meet the press" in 1981. do you know what the first question was about? >> i have no idea. >> it was about egypt. >> really? >> here we are in 2011 and i'm going to ask you about egypt again. what are your impressions of where things are now? >> well, i think things are moving tentatively in the right direction. i agree with senator kerry when he said there would be more clarity here. if the egyptian government would say, here's what we plan to do, here is how the election will be conducted there has to be time for political parties to form. you can't just hold an election tomorrow. so i think there is all this talk about whether mubarak does or doesn't step down, whether he remains as a pro forma president. that's missing the point. the important thing here is that the process is moving in the direction it ought to move. it is a sea change, tectonic
check in t change for egypt and the middle east. >> what about this broader view? are we ro manhattan sizing change toward democracy and not thinking about how chaotic it could be? >> we don't know yet. the jury is out on that. one of your guests mentioned the fact that in gaza and lebanon we had revolution, democratic revolutions that were reversed. i remember one that was reversed as well when we were in office way back in 1992, i think it was algeria where radicals coopted the process and took it over. that can happen. this is a good example -- this is a textbook case, in my view, david, of why it's sometimes difficult to conduct foreign policy. we have our national interests involved here on the one hand and we have our principles and values. in formulating and implementing foreign policy we have to give credibility. >> andrea mitchell, let me go to you on the obama
administration's influence. this was the president speaking on tuesday very clearly about what he wanted to happen in egypt. let's watch. >> what is clear and what i indicated tonight to president mubarak is it is my belief that an orderly transition must be meaningful. it must be peaceful. and it must begin now. >> it must begin now. how is he doing? >> well, there was some confusion. they did not want to be more explicit than that because they didn't want to embarrass mubarak or create a backlash where other leaders in the region as well as people in egypt would begin seeing this -- the opposition seeing this as a made in america revolution. that's the last thing they want. they had to be careful. in walking the tightrope there were moments -- most recently this rather embarrassing moment with frank wisner who was the envoy but was recalled. he was supposed to deliver this message that it needs to be now.
that was to be the quiet message. wisner had a relationship. instead he's called back and speaks to the world at a munich security conference with the secretary of state there, speaking by satellite saying mubarak needs to stay on. that was not the message. in fact, what is being said publically and privately. they had to slap him down which was an embarrassment. they are flooding the zone, going to the leaders and trying to get the message to mubarak. you can stay perhaps in title but you have to give up power. we are seeing it with suleiman. >> the transition -- you could argue it is beginning now if he gives up power and is there just in a pro forma role. >> peggy noonan, talking about reagan at 100. one of the issues ronald reagan led the country through was the end of communism. he spoke movingly in 1987. mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall. how are some dealing with this
berlin moment in the middle east? >> i don't know if it is a berlin moment. sometimes i think we make a mistake to compare the previous drama to the current drama. i think president reagan, in general, would tend to approach egypt with the thought and the conviction that america is the beacon of freedom. in some ways a teacher and an example of democracy and republican forms of government. i think he might be very specifically helpful in terms of information about how good things can happen. in egypt, however, i think he would also keep obviously a shrewd eye on america's interests, for we do have interests and we are a separate nation. i don't think president reagan would likely have confused himself thinking egypt is ours. he would remember, egypt is the egyptians'. the people there will order and choose their future. >> and, mr. mayor, we are at a point as we look at the middle
east where there are a lot of questions about what kind of change this would bring about and what is in u.s. interests. >> i think we have to make sure that u.s. interests in every way is the first thing on our agenda. john kerry was attempting to demonstrate that when he responded in the manner in which he did respond. in addition to that, david, people have been careful not to answer your questions directly about what will happen after this transition takes place and after there are new elections because the muslim brotherhood may arise. there may very well be the kind of people that are averse to the u.s. interests and the u.s. has to be careful and make sure that doesn't happen. >> let me introduce, peggy noonan the celebration about reagan and speak generally about that. you write in your column, ronald reagan at 100, the following. the biggest misunderstanding about reagan's political life is that he was inevitable.
he was not. he had to fight for every inch. he had to make it happen. none of it was inevitable. the political lesson of reagan's life, nothing is written. what is the centennial celebration mean to you? >> oh, i think it means capturing this medical record extraordinary life, political life and life as a man in the world and also thinking a little bit about his meaning as a leader. david, i think he is someone who reminded the american people in the 1970s that we are not victims of history. so many things were going against us. he said, look, we don't have to be victims of history. we can do a, b and c to make things better. we can work together. we can turn this thing around. the fact that he did that and turned things around, i think, deepened public faith and trust for our institutions and our way of doing things. when people say he made us feel
better i think that's how he made us feel better. he made it work again and reminded us that it can. >> we'll take a quick break and continue talking about that. particularly, some of his views that have resonance and his legacy that has resonance with the modern day republican party. we'll continue from the reagan library with the roundtable right after this. ♪ >> woman: good night, gluttony-- a farewell long awaited. good night, expected. >> ( yawning ) >> good night, outdated. >> ( click ) >> ( whimpers ) >> good night, fluffy. and good night, stuffy. >> ( clinking )
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we are back for more of our special discussion on ronald reagan and egypt as well with former secretary of state james baker and the rest of our panel. mr. secretary, let me ask you one more question about egypt. you have heard the discussion here. why is the united states not doing more to provide the clarity we seek? why not lay out the plan? you were talking about ronald reagan speaking truth to power around the world. >> ronald reagan did speak truth to power when he gave the speech
at the brandenburg gate but he was also willing to ask a tyrant to leave in the philippines. i think this is a different situation. we had a special relationship with the philippines. we had bases there. it was a different situation. this has to be done -- the clarity has to come from the egyptian people and egyptian government. it's not up to the united states to say, here's how you form political parties in egypt. here's exactly the way you ought to conduct this campaign and everything. we can lay out the principles and we should and i think we have. that's some of the things i heard senator kerry say. >> will broie brown, let's talk about politics. let's talk about the view of government. ronald reagan's inauguralle address made clear his view of government. watch this. >> in this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem.
government is the problem. >> isn't this the very debate we are having today in our debate over spending, debate over the role of government in this economy? >> it is the debate we are having today. in 1981 it was a far cry from when ronald reagan started in government. it was 1966, 1967 and at that time period he was not mouthing those kinds of words. apparently peggy wasn't writing for him at that time and therefore he wasn't saying those words. he really learned about government and the operation of government and what government could or could not do in the eight years that he spent as the governor of the state of california. they were really incredible learning years for this extraordinary gifted person. it doesn't surprise me, by 1981 he would be saying the words that we are still living with and trying to address today. >> and as much as modern day conservatives may take that
sentence from his inaugural as gospel and run on that in their own debates with president obama in washington today, indeed, reagan was more of a pragmatist than an idealogue when it came to taxes, social security and the like. >> he said this is the sound around my feet, it's concrete breaking. whatever the words were. people are trying, republicans in particular, trying to appropriate ronald reagan for their own political purposes now. but his vision and his ability to work across party lines was so far broader. he stuck to his principles. he was authentic which is a reason he's so admired after all these years. he knew when he needed to compromise and he did. he reached out with democrats, not just the conservative texas democrats but with tip o'neil and liberal massachusetts democrats as well when he needed to get something done with the help, the guidance of people like jim baker, but the genius
of it all was that ed meese was there and jim baker, more moderate republicans. it was messy at times but he had a range of views. and nancy reagan brought more people into play. >> whoa, whoa. >> yes? >> republicans are not, i think, trying to appropriate ronald reagan. ronald reagan was a epublican. conservatives aren't trying to appropriate him. he was a conservative. willie, he became a public figure in america two years before he was governor in 1964 and he laid out a speech as stern if not more stern in which he explained views on taxes, cut them. his views on the size of government, too big. his views on the soviet union, hold it back. it is expansionist. this was all very clear. as a president, as a governor he was pragmatic. >> some of the candidates in the sarah palin quotes, i'm talking
about one wing of the party. >> you mean some people are trying to claim him. >> that's right. >> james baker, what would ronald reagan make of the tea party movement? >> he wouldn't have a problem with it. the republican party was divided when he came up on the scene and won. and during the two terms of his presidency. one thing to note since we are here on his 100th birthday, ronald reagan practiced bipartisanship. he understood we judge our presidents in how successful they are at getting their programs through the congress. i remember sitting in the oval with him debating whether to make a particular agreement with the democratic house, for instance. he'd say, jim, i would rather get 80% of what i want than go over the cliff with my flag flying. he said it all the time. he knew when to hold them, when to fold them.
he was a fine negotiator and he learned it as head of the screen actors guild. >> we'll come back after the break to talk about his impact on democrats like president obama. we'll also have a first look at the newly renovated reagan library with our special tour guide. you couldn't get a better one. peggy noonan shows us around after the break. it moves effortlessly, breathes easily. it flows with clean water. it makes its skyline greener and its population healthier. all to become the kind of city people want to live and work in. somewhere in america, we've already answered some of the nation's toughest questions. and the over sixty thousand people of siemens are ready to do it again. siemens. answers.
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this is willie brown, former speaker of the assembly in california. cover of time magazine shows reagan and obama's admiration for him. why obama loves reagan. is this aspirational? is this a president after a tough midterm election who wants to match the success of reagan or is there more? >> no, no. in reality barack obama has always been an admirer of reagan. many of the qualities he exhibits are reflective of what ronald reagan was all about. he has not been able to demonstrate those in the first 18 months or so of his administration simply because he had such an awesome majority in the senate and an awesome majority in the house and the majority was dominated by the more progressive wing of the democratic party, far beyond what obama is. obama is more like reagan than he is like anyone else. probably including bill clinton,
believe it or not. he's a real admirer and it is genuine. >> secretary baker, is it also important to learn from some of president reagan's failings, the deregulation, its impact on the economy, deregulation of the financial situation, running up huge deficits? >> the deregulation of the financial industry mostly occurred on bill clinton's watch. sure, any leader should learn from the experiences of the past and other leaders. i might not agree with willie. >> you don't buy the obama/reagan -- >> no. here's why. president obama made a mistake in my view when he subcontracted out the formulation of his domestic policies to the most liberal elements in his party up on the hill. that prevented him from being able to go to moderate republicans on the hill and say, hey, what change do you need in
my bill? let me tweak the bill a little and you can go back to your district or state and say, look what i got in the president's bill. that's what reagan did in the first term to get support from house democrats. >> andrea, 15 seconds, but the president in his state of the union talked about doing big things. that was reaganesque. >> it was. he was trying to project optimism and generosity of spirit and coming after tucson we saw peggy wrote the speeches that gripped our hearts the way ronald reagan was comforterer, t only commander in chief. that sensibiliibility was somet barack obama identifies with. >> before we go, the newly renovated reagan library re-opens to the public tomorrow. we spent time walking through the exhibits with the ultimate tour guide, peggy noonan. here are highlights of never before seen pieces of reagan history on display here. >> here's the left side. that's the bullet hole.
>> this is something the public has never seen. this was the president's suit, the one he was wearing march 30, 1981. >> you know, reagan had been president for only nine weeks when he was shot. the american people had barely gotten to know him. i think the most beautiful thing said that day was not by reagan but was by his doctor. at one point when the doctors were going to operate on reagan and they were about to make him unconscious, reagan quipped, i just hope all of you are republicans. and the doctor, a wonderful liberal democrat quipped back, today, mr. president, we are all republicans. >> january 28, 1986, the "challenger" disaster. this is unbelievable. this is the president's diary, the actual diary. there it is. tuesday, january 28. he writes about the day. >> the "challenger" crew was pulling us into the future and
we'll continue to follow them. >> there is a name in the upper left-hand corner. noonan. you worked on this with him. >> i worked on it with him. you would have to tell the american people the search has been called off. we know we have lost all of them. >> you can see the final line. >> as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and slipped the bonds of earth to touch the face of god. >> david, the poem that the president quoted by john gill p gillespie mcghee, jr., called "high flight" i thought if the president uses it it will be because he knows the poem and loves it. he called me and said, how did you know i knew that poem? it turned out to have been very important to him. i just had a feeling that it was. >> and this is a poignant end to this museum. 1994. the sunset of my life. this is the letter he wrote to
the american people about having alzheimer's. >> here we have for the first time the audio tape the president made. >> at the moment i feel just fine. let me thank you, the american people, for giving me the great honor of allowing me to serve as your president. when the lord calls me home, whenever that may be, i will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future. >> you can watch my full tour with peggy noonan of the newly renovated reagan library including early essays written by a young ronald reagan and great stories from inside the oval office on our website. that's mtp.msnbc.com. peggy, it was special. thank you. stay with nbc for continuing coverage of the unrest in egypt and at 2:00 p.m., live coverage of the ceremony including remarks by nancy reagan. watch the reair of this program
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